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Paint Removal and Cleanup Q's & A's

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Paint Removal Sheets

I need to do a bunch of paint removal. I've seen professionals using sheets they stick on, wait a while, then pull them, and the underlying paint, off.   I want to get more information on them, but have no leads. What are these called and who makes them?

It's not as easy as you make it sound also lots of those have harsh chemicals.  Is you paint lead or unlead? Check out this web site they sell a great environmentaly sound and worker friendly product.

Removing Exterior Paint 

I want to remove some old exterior paint that has cracked/chipped around some windows. It's easy to get rid of the chipped stuff, where the former owners didn't first put primer, but I can't get rid of the paint where there was primer.  Any suggestions that have worked for you? A chemical solvent? Using a heat gun?

A heat gun will work. Scraping and sanding will work too.  Even a high pressure power washer will work. But be careful.. it can easily damage the wood too.


Removing paint

What is the best, fastest way to remove 4 layers of paint from wood siding on an older home? Thanks for any ideas you might have!

If the paint is at all loose, a pressure washer will make short work of it. It will take paint off that isn't loose too, but you have to be carefull, the water jet can chew up the wood too leaving a rough surface.


Paint Removing

I have an old sunporch with years of layers of paint on trim,windows, and door. I've been using a heat gun and a chemical stripper which requires scrapping. The project is moving so slow.Is their a removing process or product that works faster.

You can try a pressure washer. It will definitely make short work of anything that is loose, and even help where it is not. (make sure you are carefull with the pressure, too close at too high a pressure can damage the wood's surface)  

The biggest problem you will have will be uneveness on the surface that you are working on. Because not all of the paint will come off, leaving some spots that are raised due to layers of paint. After you powerwash, try some sanding with coarse paper to level things out and then follow up with fine paper to smooth it over.

Obviously, the best-looking way to do all of this is to rip it out and replace the boards - but that's fairly expensive. good luck



Painting - how do I clean up trim and ceiling that I got paint on?

I thought I did everything right - except I didn't take the tape off right after I finished painting the room. The walls and ceilings are textured so some of the paint seeped through. I now have cranberry colored walls, off white trim (now with some cranberry on it) and a white ceiling (also with some cranberry on it). Is there a product that allows me to "clean them up" without having to repaint?

For the ceiling I don't think you could clean anything off the textured surface, you will probably have to paint over that. Just dab it over the cranberry spots.

On your trim, if it was latex paint, did you try soap and water right away? If so and that didn't work, I am afraid there too, you will have to paint.

When you taped, did you use regular masking tape, or the good painters tape. The good stuff is waxy and doesn't bleed through. I comes in wider rolls than masking tape and is only sticky on a strip of it. Don't use the regular masking tape.

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Interior Painting Booboo

I was painting over drywall that had previously been painted light blue. The new paint color was to be light yellow. When I began to apply with a roller, I could see that it wasn't quite covering the blue. I then made the serious mistake of just applying the paint more heavily. Of course, after a few minutes, it began to run badly. I tried to smooth the drips out with a brush, but no luck. Is there anything I can do once the paint dries to get rid of all the lumps and drips?

If the paint is dry and hard, then you should use sand paper to sand the lumps and drips flat. Use about a 100 or 120 grit, and use a sanding block. A sanding block is a palm sized piece of wood you can wrap the sand paper around. Using the block helps sand only the high places. If you have some felt, you can glue a piece of that to the block, which helps the sandpaper last a little longer. 

The next idea, you can try, but I have no idea if it will work. (Just seems worth a shot) Try rubbing the drips with a stiff wet sponge. If the paint has not hardened completely, this might smooth it out some. (Try it in an inconspicuous spot first)

I both cases, you will have to go ahead and give it another coat of paint after you are done taking down the high spots.

Removing Paint

We are trying to remove 4 layers of paint from wood siding on an older home. What is the best (and fastest) way to do this? We've tried a heat gun, but it takes forever! Any ideas?

You can try a pressure washer. It will blast the paint off.. BUT you have to be careful... it will roughen up the surface if you hold the nozzle too close at too high a pressure.

Removing paint drips

We have latex and enamel paint drips on our hardwood floors. Do you have any suggestions on how to
remove without damaging?

This will work especially if you had a good finish on the floor to start, but even if you didn't you can try..... Use a razor blade to shave the drip off. It may take a small amount of the floors finish with it... and that may have to be touched up. And in case you catch some wood grains, always scrape with the grain.

Removing paint from brass door hardware

What can be used to remove paint from the brass door hardware i.e. hinges, bolts, etc. Need help, as the doors will be re-hung shortly.

I used a heat gun on mine and it blistered the paint right off. Then I polished using some polishing compound and my Dremel tool.

Removing Ralph Lauren River Rock paint from interior walls

How do I safely remove Ralph Lauren River Rock Paint from interior walls?

I believe on the back of the Ralph Lauren can it will tell you what you need to do, I believe it required two coats of a particular primer, take a look.

Painting Mistake

My wife and I recently tried to paint our bathroom. We used a semi-gloss paint and painted over a wall that was already painted with semi-gloss. The new paint just scratches off. How can we remove the new paint and start over?

Take one of those green scouring pads or 00 steel wool or 200 grit sandpaper and sand down the walls. If this is an old home with many coats of paint, it is recommended that you paint again with oil based paint, BUT if newer or less then 5 coats of paint give it a good coat of primer...Bin, Bin 1-2-3, Bullseye, Kilz etc. THEN paint with your favorite latex semi gloss.


I have avocado green metal kitchen cabinets, I assume I cannot just paint over them with a white color. I've heard I'll have to sand them down before painting. How do I go about removing the paint, preparing the surface for a new coat of paint (or two)?

I would recommend using metal spray paint, only because they are self-priming AND self-sealing. Tape off EVERYTHING and I mean everything should be covered.

You can rent a spray machine the same use for auto shops and prep it with a white primer first the same as you would do a car as well as get automotive paint. Those cabinets are most likely baked enamel so using a good enamel spray paint would give you the best coverage as well as it will not chip.

IF you want to use an enamel, I would suggest Glidden's Melamine after priming it first of course.

Another answer:
I see no reason why you can't paint over your cabinets as is. You will have to prime with a white to lighten that green and a few coats should do the job, then paint the color you want.

One of the jobs I had in the seventies was making paint for a large company. There were only a few latex paints then and lots of enamels (yuck!) It amazes me the quality/durability and variety of today's paints (mostly latex now) You can paint over any existing painted surface.



I own a victorian home with a wrap-around porch that has a tongue and groove wood floor. The paint is peeling and water damage is beginning. I want to sand and re-seal the wood to prevent further damage. Can I do this with a drum sander? My handy-man skills are "novice" to say the least. Any ideas?

A sander will certainly work well. Make sure you never leave it in one spot... while it is on, keep it moving. Make sure you prime and paint it with high quality porch and deck paint.


Restoring a wood deck

I recently purchased a house with a wood deck that has a worn look from the red paint.  I would like to strip the paint of the deck and restore the deck to a natural wood look.  I have been told that their are some products that will strip the paint and I have also been told that one way would to get rid of the paint is to sand the deck. I would like the deck to have a brighter new look and I would like to preserve this look.

I wouldn't try stripping the paint off the deck, I would opt for the sanding. If the wood is in good shape and is worth saving, you can rent a drum sander that will make relatively short work of the job. Trouble is, if all the edges have paint in them, removing that will be time consuming. A paint stripper for those areas may work out.

As for keeping it looking good, you should seal it right away and yearly thereafter. It is a lot of work, but a deck does take a beating being out there in the sun and rain. Use a deck cleaner or bleach before sealing it each year to brighten it up. (that won't be necessary the first year)



Removing paint drips from shingles?

We have just had vinyl siding put on the house and it looks great. But now the white paint drips from years past on the red shingles really stand out. Is there any way to remove paint without damaging the shingles?

Nope. Any type of paint remover will dissolve the shingle. Try getting a red color close to your shingles and paint the white spots.


How do I remove paint from etched glass window?

While painting the stucco on the house, the wind blew hundreds of specks of paint onto an etched glass window. I don't want to ruin the etching, which had been put on with sandblasting. I tried mineral spirits, alcohol and just plain water and none helped.

Try using GOOP or GOO, or you can also try WD40 and a plastic scraper. It will not hurt the etching if you use a plastic scraper.... hopefully. Try it first clean window and see on a small section first.


Paint on brick

I have scattered areas of paint on exterior brick from a sloppy paint job. What's a good chemical to get paint off the brick?

Try in order:
-pressure washing
-acetone on a brush/rag
-lacquer thinner on a brush/rag
-paint remover on a brush/rag
Few work. Fewer work completely.

Click here for our Interior Painting Article
Click here for our Painting Tips Article

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